I’ve made this ragu so many times since I first tried it, about 2 years ago. Its simplicity always deems it a pleasure to make and it’s perfect for a dinner party, as it can feed 6-8. If you have fiddly starters or desserts, this can just be left either in the oven or on the stove until the meat is ready to be lifted out, shredded and returned to the sauce – pretty dandy.
My boyfriend’s brothers favourite dish, and served up at his birthday meal – worthy of the party hats and celebrations surrounding it (I can say this myself as it’s not my creation), but from The National Gallery of Australia’s Sculpture Garden Restaurant in Canberra.
Not the cheapest thing to make, but I think worthy of every penny – especially when it’s served up for a dinner party or special celebration.
Ingredients Serves 6-8
- 1 ½ tbsp. olive oil
- 1 each of onion, leek and celery stalk – finely chopped
- 350g pancetta, finely diced
- 150ml Madeira
- 800g crushed or tinned cherry tomatoes
- 1 kg boneless pork shoulder, cut in half
- 200g black Ligurian olives, pitted
- 30g butter, coarsely chopped
- 11/2 tbsp marjoram leaves, plus extra to serve
- 750 dried pasta (rigatoni works well, I used Mafadelle on this occasion)
If you have a large casserole pan, use the oven and heat to 120°C. If not use a large pan with a lid.
Heat olive oil over a medium heat and add onion, leek and celery. Stir occasionally until tender (7-8 minutes).
Add pancetta and stir occasionally until golden (6-7 minutes).
Add Madeira, simmer until reduced by half (1-2 minutes).
Add tinned tomatoes, bring to a simmer, season to taste and then add pork shoulder, cover and braise in the heated oven or on a very low heat on the stove with lid.
Cook for 3 hours, turning pork over once after 1 ½ hours (about halfway through the cooking time).
Remove pork and, when cool enough to handle, coarsely shred and set aside.
Process your cooking liquid in a food processor or with a stick blender (I think easiest option) to a puree then transfer this to a saucepan and simmer over a medium heat for about 10-12 minutes to a thick sauce.
Stir in shredded pork, olives, butter, marjoram, season to taste and keep warm whilst you cook your paste to al dente. Drain pasta and toss through pork mixture, serve hot scattered with parmesan and extra marjoram leaves.